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 Thai News

 2014: July-Sept
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30th September

  Prison Island...

Thailand considers electronic tagging for tourists in response to Koh Tao murders
Link Here
electronic tagging Identification wristbands may be distributed to tourists in Thailand, the country's tourism minister says. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said she had approached hotels over the idea of handing out wristbands to help identify tourists who get lost or into trouble.

When tourists check in to a hotel they will be given a wristband with a serial number that matches their ID and shows the contact details of the resort they are staying in, so that if they're out partying late and, for example, get drunk or lost, they can be easily assisted.

The next step would be some sort of electronic tracking device but this has not yet been discussed in detail.

She said a buddy system , pairing tourists with a local minder at tourist destinations, was also being discussed.

Kobkarn admitted the wristband idea had already met some resistance:

Most people welcome the idea but some hotels are concerned that tourists may not want to wear the wristbands.

Limiting party hours on some of Thailand's islands and imposing restrictions over where beach parties could be held were also being considered, said Kobkarn.

The idea is unlikely to go down well with hoards of young backbackers who travel to Thailand each year.

 

28th August

  Tourists Only...

Thailand bans visa runs but at least gives tourists a one off chance to extend their stay by 30 days
Link Here
thai entry stamp The Immigration Bureau has approved a new regulation that allows tourists to extend their stay in the kingdom by a further 30 days, effective from Aug 29.

That will mean holidaymakers from 49 countries who enter Thailand under a 30-day visa exemption can extend their stay for a further 30 days by obtaining a 30 day extension from their local immigration office. Of course this concession is limited to a single extension.

The measure will appeal to foreign travellers who want to prolong their stay in Thailand and visit other Southeast Asian countries, Pol Col Vorarat said. The extension will cost 1,900 baht.

The bureau, however, tightened up visa extension regulations for foreigners who enroll to study Thai in private language schools outside of the official school system, as well as those working in a public charity/non-profit organisation or a foreign chamber of commerce. Those affected will be granted visa extensions of 90 days but for no more than one year.

 

26th August

  Tea Total Dictatorship...

Thailand's military dictators demand midnight closing and ban all drinks promotions including Happy Hours
Link Here
singha beer Thailand's military junta has warned that it intends to enforce harsh measures regulating the advertising and promotion of alcohol, in a move that will affect thousands of businesses throughout the country.

Under the newly enforced rules all alcohol products must carry health warnings, sales are banned to anyone under the age of 20, and initiatives promoting alcohol -- such as happy hours, free ice and mixers, and the use of beer girls -- are banned.

No drinking is allowed after midnight in bars or restaurants, even though sales have ended; no alcohol logos are allowed on glasses, ashtrays and other paraphernalia; and bars will not be allowed to display posters or bottles -- even old ones -- featuring such logos.

Bar staff cannot wear T-shirts with alcohol logos, and it is illegal to promote events such as wine and beer tastings. Alcohol logos - or even images accepted as representative of brands, such as a deer head for Benmore or red stars for Heineken - are not allowed to be displayed in sponsorship or any kind of advertising or promotion.

Promoting alcohol through word of mouth is also illegal, so if a waiter is asked to recommend a particular brand of beer he would be breaking the law if he responds. All printed photographs of glasses or bottles in the media must have visible brands and logos blurred.

Fines range between 2,500 for non-cooperation with inspectors and 500,000 baht if beverage companies promote and advertise their alcohol illegally. There are also punishments of up to six months in jail for various offences.

Update: Not yet national

28th August 2014.

The new doesn't seem to have made any national newspapers so maybe this is an action local to Chiang Mai.

 

23rd August

  Maybe a Little Hasty...

Thailand seems to be having second thoughts about banning visa runs
Link Here
thai entry stamp The Thai Immigration Bureau has been told to be flexible with visa runners , junta chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha has said. In his weekly televised address yesterday, Prayuth said those going on visa runs can register with the bureau, which will then find a way to resolve the problem.

Prayuth admitted that this crackdown had considerably affected certain groups:

This is a problem that needs to be resolved, as it can lead to a shortage of English teachers and tour guides.

 

6th August

  Fast Track...

Pattaya will be put on the high speed train map
Link Here
new train lines Thailand military government has approved two high-speed train projects. The two routes approved are intended to serve as a transport link between Thailand and southern China.

Proposals for a high-speed train from Rayong to Nong Khai - and on to China - were first made in October, 2013.

Permanent secretary for transport Soithip Traisuth, however, said the maximum speed of the trains to be operated on the new routes, between Nong Khai and Map Ta Phut and between Chaing Khong and Ban Phachi, would have to be reduced to 160 kilometres per hour from the 200 km/ph previously stated.

The construction of the two routes will begin next year and should be completed by 2021.

 

2nd August

  Hot News: Thailand is good for you...

Researchers find that spicy food protects against bowel cancer
Link Here
chilli A chemical compound found in spicy curries could help reduce the risk of developing bowel cancer, a study has found.

Researchers gave capsaicin, which gives chilli peppers their heat, to mice genetically prone to developing multiple tumours in their gastrointestinal tract.

The capsaicin triggered a pain receptor in the cells lining their intestines, setting off a reaction that reduced the risk of growing colorectal tumours. Researchers gave capsaicin, which gives chilli peppers their heat, to mice genetically prone to developing multiple tumours in their gastrointestinal tract

Scientists found that the treatment extended the lifespan of the mice by more than 30%. And it was even more effective when combined with celecoxib, an anti-inflammatory drug already approved for treating some forms of arthritis.

Bowel cancer is the third most common type of cancer in the UK, with doctors diagnosing an average of 41,000 new cases of the disease every year.

 

31st July

  Dangerous Thailand...

Tourists warned that they will be jailed for up to 2 years if they don't carry their passports at all times
Link Here
UK Passport Thailand's Immigration department have introduced harsh penalties for tourists caught not carrying their passports.

Immigration Division spokesman Colonel Worawat Amornwiwat said that starting from August 29, foreigners who failed to produce their passports would be fined up to Bt20,000 and jailed for up to two years.

Due to the fear of the consequences should one's passport get lost or stolen, some expats carry alternative forms of photo ID. But these seem to now be disallowed. Pol.Col. Thanasak Vongluekiat, Superintendent of Prachuap Khirikhan and Phetchaburi Immigration confirmed the following to the ThaiVisa website:

  1. By law, all tourists and expats nationwide are required to carry their original passports with them at all times. There is no exception to this. Failure to carry your original passport may result in a 2,000 THB fine. The reason behind this is that Immigration needs to keep track of overstayers and foreign criminals who may be staying illegally in the country.

  2. The information provided at an Immigration meeting was unclear. The correct information, which has always been the case, is that no other forms of identification are acceptable. This includes any other form of photo ID, such as a Thai/foreign driving license or a photocopy of your passport.

  3. Immigration does not provide any kind of stamp verification on a photocopy of a passport as announced at the meeting yesterday. Therefore, you are required to keep your original passport with you at all times as per point #1 above.

 

18th July

 Offsite Article: Visa crackdown...

Link Here
thai entry stampIs this the end of the road for unqualified ESL teachers in Thailand?

See article from thaivisa.com

 

15th July

  Unwelcome Tourists...

Thailand ends visa runs from 12th August even with a tourist visa
Link Here
thai entry stamp Immigration authorities will not let visa runners re-enter the country after August 12

Many foreigners who do regular visa runs in order to extend their stay in Thailand have less than a month before a crackdown by the authorities.

From August 13, tourists travelling on an entry stamp or a tourist visa will not be able to re-enter the country, regardless of their choice of transport. The Immigration Bureau has already instructed officials to deny entry to foreigners doing visa runs.

Visa runners are those who leave Thailand and return immediately for the purpose of extending their stay. By using  60-day tourist visas and 30-day visa exemptions, many foreigners can work illegally in language schools, or restaurants and other businesses. It is easier for some to get jobs this way, as some employers do not want to go through the complicated process of seeking work permits and like to avoid the expense if they can.

Now, those on a visa run who are allowed back in will find an O-I (Out-In) mark next to their latest stamp marking entry. From August 13, nobody with an O-I sign on their passport will be allowed to re-enter Thailand if they cannot produce a proper visa. This appears to mean that in fact one visa run will be allowed before the entry refusal kicks in.

Update: A longer visa exempt extension available at Thai immigration offices

1st August 2014. From pattayasecrets.com

The Immigration Bureau has announced that of August 29. 2014 you will be able to extend your visa exemption period whilst you're in Thailand by 30 days, instead of the current 7 days, giving a total visa-exemption stay of 60 days. The fee for extension of stay is 1,900 Baht (unchanged).

If you are traveling on visa-exempt or with a tourist visa, bring these documents for your extension:

  1. Your onward flight ticket or eTicket out of Thailand within the 30 days
  2. Minimum 10,000 Baht, or rather 20,000 Baht
  3. Hotel booking confirmation - and if you have it, your itinerary
  4. One photo, passport sized.
  5. Application fee, 1,900 Baht

 

1st July

  Thailand set to ban visa runs for back to back 15/30 day entry permits...

Whilst also making tourist and non-immigrant visas tougher to get too
Link Here
thai entry stamp Thailand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has informed embassies and consulates in Thailand and the Royal Thai embassies and consulates that it will crackdown on travellers who cross the border and return immediately to extend visa-free stays in the Thailand.

Thaivisa.com reported that the ministry had issued a letter to all embassies and that the letter coonforms that the ministry will crackdown on border runs as stated earlier by Thailand's Immigration Bureau.

Travellers who enter Thailand on visa-free conditions can currently cross the border with neighbouring countries to repeatedly extend their visa-free stays. such misleadingly named visa runs allow foreigners to remain in Thailand without the need to apply for a long-stay visa. The government claims that many of them work in Thailand to avoid the onerous and restrictive system for work permits.

In the letter The Foreign Ministry confirmed, earlier information that border runners will be prohibited from re-entering Thailand at overland checkpoints as of 12 August, once their original visa-free stay expires. It apparently does not impact on airline travellers who visit a neighbourng country and then return to Thailand.

It is also likely that travellers applying for tourist visas at Thai embassies in Asia, could face scrutiny or even be told to return to their home countries to apply for a new visa. However government intentions here are not clear.

Long stay visa applicants are advised to acquire appropriate (Non-Immigrant) visas at Thai embassies or consulates prior to their arrival, but even here Thailand has recently introduced more restrictive conditions such as minimum income requirements.

 

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